The Cerdanya and the Catalan Pyrenees

Prior to our stay on the Costa Brava, we spent three days exploring the picturesque and sunny Cerdanya valley between la Seu d’Urgell (Lleida) and Puigcerdá (Girona), surrounded by the majestic Catalan Pyrenees mountains.  From our base at the inviting and restful Parador de Seu, in the confluence of the Valira and Segre rivers, we made forays into the French Cerdanya to Mont Louis, where one can take the exciting Disney-esque 63 km excursion through the Catalan Pyrénées.on the little yellow electric powered train, Le Petit Train Jaune, dating from the turn of the 20th-century.

We also visited Llivia, the Spanish ski town totally surrounded by French territory with the oldest pharmacy in Europe and toured the impressive art collection of La Seu’s cathedral, the only Romanesque cathedral in Spain.  We dined on hearty mountain cuisine such as senglar, wild boar, Trinxat, an irresistible mashed potato, bacon and cabbage dish, and the local stew, escudella.

We also toured the charming, tiny stone and slate villages of BellverPrullans and Lles de Cerdanya, each with its Romanesque church and atmospheric Plaça Mayor where time stands still.

And as usual, we inspected the region’s best lodgings for our clients; the luxurious, but well priced, Relais Chateaux spa property with Michelin starred restaurant, the Tàpies family’s El Castell de Ciutat overlooking the castle, a minute west of La Seu, which has an elegant British Private Club style decor, two pools, state-of-the-art wellness center and resort-like atmosphere and the region’s best scenery.  The family-friendly Chalet de Golf, a Relais de Silence, in an attractive upscale country club community with two bedroom suites for four, pool, paddle and tennis courts, adjacent to the 18-hole Real Club de Cerdanya golf club, one of Catalunya’s finest. Nearby are riding stables and hot air ballooning.

And further afield between, Figueres Dalí-land and the Costa Brava, in the heart of the upper Empordà, you’ll find the Wine Spa and Golf Hotel Peralada with its own 18-hole golf course and golf school, 62 luxuriously-equipped rooms, three restaurants and Spain’s first-built wine therapy, vinoterapia, facility.  Perfect for a family get-away.

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